Editor’s note: With social distancing guidelines thwarting traditional gathering events such as birthday parties, people have had to get creative to try to make these special days special. Here are two such stories.
When Alana Jervis left her house on April 4, with her parents, Nikki and Dennis, and her brother, Dylan, she thought they were going to Walmart to pick up items they had ordered.
At least, that’s what her parents had told her.
But, once she got outside, there were bunches of colorful balloons, a sign that said “PLEASE HONK FOR ALANA’S B-DAY” and some of her relatives in the front yard. That was a little strange, she said.
Then, a Brookfield police car slowly drove past with its emergency lights flashing, followed by dozens of vehicles beeping their horns with family members, friends and neighbors hanging out the windows to wish her a happy birthday.
The Berena family tricked out a four-wheeler, which pulled a wagon holding a white board on which was written birthday greetings. The Boyce family pulled a decorated trailer behind their SUV.
Some people dropped off balloons, cards and gifts as they drove past.
“It was surprising, and I was not expecting that,” said Alana, who turned 10 that day. “It was really fun to watch.”
Nikki Jervis had set up the parade through Facebook, noting that social distancing and staying at home had limited some of the typical birthday celebration options.
“I know that she is really starting to miss her family and friends, so we wanted to do something special for her,” Jervis said in her Facebook Event post. “Many of you have probably seen those parades on TV for kids celebrating their birthdays. I think they are awesome and wanted to try to something like that for Alana.”
Well-wishers posted messages and photos on the event page, and Alana put up a short video thanking everyone who participated.
Alana said her big gift for her birthday was a new bike.
Tara Carano also took to Facebook to honor her son, Daniel McQueen, who turned 4 on April 22, by asking that people send cards. The results were surprising.
“We got about 50 cards in the mail, even from strangers,” she said. “There were people who sent gifts. I didn’t even know who they were. Even in this epidemic, there’s still humanity.”
Daniel’s grandmother, Tammy Pipic, asked the Brookfield Fire Department if they would participate in a parade – and they said, “yes,” sending an ambulance and a fire truck with lights flashing and sirens blaring past the Pipic home on Merwin Chase Road.
Daniel waved and, when asked if he enjoyed the parade, gave an enthusiastic “Yeah!”
“I just want to acknowledge the fire department,” Pipic, said, noting they have done the same for other recent kids’ birthdays. “They don’t have to do that.”